THUNDER BAY – Ontario Liberal Leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne announced infrastructure, youth employment, and aboriginal education commitments for Northern Ontario, while campaigning Thursday and Friday in Thunder Bay.
“I want the North to be more than sustainable,” stated Wynne. “The relationship has to be more than a leader coming North to make an announcement. As Premier I want to have a working relationship with the Northeast and the Northwest”.
Wynne stated that it is critical to look at all the impacts of decision making. “I would want to bring Northern Mayors, Aboriginal leaders, and groups together to make sure we are doing what is needed to be done. Working together with Northerners – including mayors, municipal leaders, and Aboriginal leaders – will build even stronger and more prosperous communities in the north,” stated Wynne. “We have to choose a leader who can navigate through these difficult times —who can stay the course on our economic plan; who can bring opposing sides to the table and find real, creative, solutions to the challenges we face.”
“Northern Ontario is facing exciting opportunities like the Ring of Fire, but also distinct challenges that need tailored solutions,” continued Wynne. “We need to invest in vital infrastructure to keep the North competitive while creating more opportunities for young people and Aboriginal Ontarians. These initial commitments to Northern Ontarians are the result of listening to and working directly with northerners.”
On the Ring of Fire, Wynne states that it is critical to have the right process going forward, especially with First Nations. She commented that process appears to be going better now with Memorandums of Understanding being signed. The need for training, education and community supports, especially for health issues and addictions will all be needed.
Wynne also promised to convene a new Northern Ontario Cabinet Committee to ensure the priorities of northerners are front and centre in any government decision.
The candidate promises:
- Invest in Roads & Bridges – Investing in infrastructure and transportation is vital to attracting investment and enabling northern communities to prosper. Kathleen Wynne will bring Northern mayors together to ensure the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario is on the right track. Released in March 2011, the Northern growth plan is Ontario’s blueprint for infrastructure.
- Jobs for Northern Youth – Partner with Northern Ontario industry to create opportunities for young northerners to experience an internship, work placement, or co-op placement.
- Expand Ontario’s Role in Aboriginal Education – Work with our First Nations partners and the federal government to improve outcomes for First Nations students in Ontario by making greater use of Ontario’s expertise in education.
- Northern Ontario Cabinet Committee – If elected Premier, Kathleen Wynne will create a cabinet committee on Northern Ontario and convene a cabinet meeting in Northern Ontario within 30 days.
“I am firmly committed to our fiscal plan of paying down the deficit by 2017-18,” said Wynne. “These commitments will fit in the current fiscal framework so we can get the province where it needs to be: deficit free, eliminating debt, and ensuring Ontario is a prime environment for investment of all kinds.”